Time is running out. Nalenyr is besieged on all sides by those who would save the fabled land--and those who would enslave it. Soon the realm will be ravaged by the scourge of magical warfare--overrun by terrifying forces created by an ancient enemy, and soaked in the blood of champions and gods. It is the moment of final conflict, and the grandchildren of the Royal Cartographer are at the center of the climactic struggle.
Keles Anturasi will race across the world, fleeing assassins, seeking control over powers he can barely understand. His brother, Jorim, having ascended to godhood, now finds himself pitted against an elder god--the very god who once created the entire pantheon and now seeks its destruction. And their sister, Nirati, embarks on a treacherous crusade with a dead hero to wage war on hell itself!
As the final battle lines are drawn, they will gather the land's newly awakened defenders of the ancient past. But can this small band of champions, mystics, and magicians stand against an evil that threatens to sweep reality itself into an unending dark age of nightmare and oblivion?
Set in a sprawling realm of scheming deities and heroic mortals, the earth-shaking conclusion to bestseller Stackpole's Age of Discovery trilogy (after Cartomancy and A Secret Atlas) focuses on the efforts of the three grandchildren of royal cartographer Qiro Anturasi, a master mapmaker whose unparalleled magical ability allows him to reshape the landscape of reality, to save their world from destruction. Major threats include an undead, soulless prince hell-bent on usurping the crown from his empress stepmother and a vengeance-obsessed elder god determined to undo all of creation. With its huge cast, numerous byzantine subplots and nonstop action, Stackpole's ambitious epic is comparable to--if not quite at the level of--sagas by adventure fantasy heavyweights like George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan. Considering the story's intricate mix of military, political and supernatural machinations, the overall theme is surprisingly simple and profound: every act of creation, no matter how big or small, is significant, and life itself is magic. (July)
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-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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June 29, 2007
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Excerpt from The New World by Michael A. Stackpole
4th day, Month of the Hawk, Year of the Rat
Last Year of Imperial Prince Cyron's Court
163rd Year of the Komyr Dynasty
737th Year since the Cataclysm
Ciras Dejote sighed and wished that the peace of Voraxan might once again infect him. Instead he wandered the empty onyx streets, passing between buildings carved from ruby and emerald, topaz, lapis, and citrine, and felt nothing. The architecture reminded him of the grand palaces of the Empire--relics of a time when heroes walked and epic tales were born.
He had grown up listening to such stories and had dreamed of someday becoming a hero. He knew the path to such immortality would require achieving jaedun--the magic that transformed an ordinary warrior into a Mystic. Through diligent study and practice, he could become a superior swordsman. But as a Mystic, he would be supernaturally gifted.
He had set out with his master, Moraven Tolo, on a quest into the Wastes, where wild magic still warped the land. Then his mission had changed. He and the inventor, Borosan Gryst, had set off deep into Ixyll, to find Voraxan, the resting place of the Sleeping Empress. They were to awaken her and bring her army back to the very Empire she had sundered over seven centuries before.
Ciras paused beside a small emerald building. He ran his fingers over the characters gently carved into the lintel: Shan Tsiendao. Within the building he could see her recumbent form, sleeping, dreaming, waiting to be summoned once again to war. Though he felt drawn back to the Nine Principalities, he regretted the necessity of awakening any of these warriors.
His quest to be a hero had brought him to this grand city of the dead, with tombs carved of gems, styled to be homes. It was not, however, a place of misery and remorse. The streets and buildings all combined instead to make it into a peaceful haven. Given that the warriors resting therein had fought the greatest battle in the history of the world, it seemed appropriate.
Ciras walked on, wending his way back toward the onyx courtyard of the ruby palace that had been the Empress' resting place. Trapped between the palace and a diamond fountain, Borosan Gryst sat tinkering with one of his magical machines. Despite the hardship of their journey together, the man remained overweight. He wore no sword and had neither martial skill nor sense. In Ciras' world, those deficiencies would have made the dark-haired man beneath contempt.
And yet, on the journey, Borosan had proven himself clever. Almost too clever.
Ciras' shadow fell over Borosan. "I cannot believe you hid the fact that Empress Cyrsa had already left this place." He opened his arms wide to take in the gemstone city. "We traveled across the known world, through strange lands and countless perils, and yet you kept that hidden from me."
Borosan smiled indulgently. "It was not a matter of trust, Master Dejote. I had been given a secret mission by the Empress. I did not tell my father. I would not have told Prince Cyron, had he asked. You should not feel betrayed."
The slender swordsman crouched beside his thickset companion, though he remained beyond the reach of the spiderlike thanaton on which Borosan worked. "I understand secrecy. Delivering the message to the people of Voraxan was very important. What would have happened if you had died on the way? The call would not have gone out."
Borosan shrugged. Both arms were elbow deep in the inner workings of the thanaton's spherical body. "I would imagine I was not the only person the Empress sent with her message. I'm just the first one to make it. And . . ."
The gyanridin's right hand emerged from the magical machine's bowels and tossed Ciras a small, yellowed ivory cylinder with delicate script carved on it. "If I died, there was always this."